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not really an emergency, but for the emergency, i don't hear anybody wanting money for sandy any different than any other emergency, and i hope nobody is saying that sandy ought to be treated differently than an earthquake in california or a hurricane in the south or tornadoes in the midwest or droughts wherever they might happen. and i haven't surmised that's what they're trying to do. if they are, they hadn't shouldn't say that sandy ought to be treated differently than a different disaster because generally a disaster is a disaster, whether it's earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or sandy. so the money's going to be there and will be there on time. and you don't know exactly one month after a disaster exactly
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how much money is needed. in fact, they asked from the governors of those states for $80 billion. the president sent up $64 billion. some people in our area of expertise on this in our caucus have said there are certain things that aren't authorized, so that shouldn't be expended and then i point out about some vehicles that can't be purchased right now to do the good that they're supposed to do. so we ought to be comforted that there is an attitude in this senate over decades that the federal government is an insurer of last resort for disasters, whatever kind of a disaster you have. at least disasters as described by existing law, and new york will get their money and it doesn't necessarily have to be the 64 million, it's just got to make sure there's money there for what's needed tomorrow and the next day and the next day.
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but we aren't going to have a final figure on this for a long time. so we ought to just move with some money to make sure it's there for what can be spent right now. i yield the floor. do you want me to suggest -- i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i rise today to honor a woman by the name of janice shelton. for her friendship, and 32 years of dedication as an
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employee of this body, the united states senate. 25 of those years janice worked as my executive assistant. she's demonstrated a sincere dedication to me, my office, my family, and this body, the united states senate. it's an understatement to say that she will be sorely missed. she will be. she's always been kind and thoughtful to me, to my wife landra, all my children, and to everyone that she comes in contact. if there's a problem, everyone knows, go to janice. no one has my ear the past 25 years like janice shelton has. she has been a professional career creating order where there could easily be chaos. over the course of her productive career with the army, the white house, and the senate, have been each -- each benefited from her unique
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expertise and professionalism and hard work. she began her professional life at the department of the army as secretary to the chief of personnel and training. her gift of completing tasks quickly and with ease all while maintaining a positive outlook served her well when she moved on to a position of trust at the white house. but it's not merely her professionalism, but the equally valued personal quality she has brought to the job, graciousness, unflagging energy, and a willingness to take on any task, large or small, that made her so treasured to everyone who came in contact with her. from the white house she transitioned to the united states senate with senator hawkins and senator mikulski and for the last 25 years has been a source of calm and order in my office despite the long hours and the endless to-do lists that come with working with me. i say with certainty had it not
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been for janice my office would not have run nearly as smoothly as it has over these years. she's always a woman of tremendous faith, and her life revolves around her family. she is married to robert lee shelton for 58 years. they have two daughters, robin and laurie nelson. she has eight children, one great grand responsible i know four of her grandchildren. shelton, who i watched, i got up every sunday sunday to see what happened to the college football game. shelton was big. he was an offensive lineman, played in the college level. he must have weighed 300 pounds of muscle. i followed shelton's little brother -- little brother -- 6'3" or 6'4", big strapping left-handed pitch, a college baseball player and two of her granddaughters that worked for me as a page, for us as a page, rebecca and holly.
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when she's not at the desk -- and she spends long hours there -- mr. president, i don't go home early. i could call, she would be there, 9:00, 10:00 at night and that is no exaggeration. but she's not at that desk, janice was usually in georgia or north carolina with her children or grandchildren. now, she has probably been really political but i think she's gotten a little more political working for me. she's made sure each of her grandchildren makes sure they understand the importance of their political voice. during the recent election she called those eligible to vote to make sure they'd voted. and i didn't press very hard but she may have urged them how they
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should vote. while janice's accomplishments deserve recognition, it is janice herself who will be missed so dearly. she has served not only as a deeply trusted and committed assistant to me, but as a mentor to many who have worked with her. i know i'm not the only one who will note her be absence. she has been so wonderful to my family during times of crisis, my boys know, call janice. they can always get through to me through janice. she's given them advice, she's counseled them, and my wife landra is a dear friend of janice, and conversely the case. janice is her good friend. she has helped landra in smeen different ways, social events that landra has committed to
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take care of here because of what i do, and other reasons. during landra's very bad accident, janice was always there. she was the up with that walked into my desk and said to me landra has been hurt pretty bad, you've got to stop doing what you're doing and we were trying to do the health care bill. during landra's battle with breast cancer, she's helped her in so many different ways. i'm so indebted to janice for how she's treated my family. in addition to how she's treated me and everyone who comes in contact with her.
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at hurt christmas party last night, -- at our christmas party last night we gave janice a little present. and i told everyone there that that -- excuse me. she and i had shed all the tears we were going to, but i guess it wasn't true. she combines unflinching honesty with the generous and kind nature. one always trusts she has one's
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best interests at heart. her charm causes even the hardest cases to many times crack a smile, and her quick wit often brings a grin. or a smile or sometimes a laugh. these traits more so even than her skill and dedication have made her successful. i'll miss her both as an employee and as a person. today is her last day, just a few more hours to work here.
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my desk, i have a picture of my mentor, michael callahan. in fact, i have two pictures. my credenza right behind my desk. he was my mentor, my best friend. and he taught me something that i've always remembered. you can buy a resume, you can buy good looks, education, experience, but the one thing you can't buy is loyalty. and there's no one that's ever been more loyal to me than janice shelton. i congratulate her on her service to the senate and wish her the best on her retirement. along with her dear friend, bobby, who is also my friend and always will be.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: i ask proceedings under the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coons: mr. president, this has been a hard work here in the senate. as we have said goodbye, as you've just seen in the remarks of the majority leader, retirements are very difficult. parting with the company of
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honored and treasured colleagues here in the national is as hard as it is anywhere in the world. we've had some particularly difficult moments here just earlier today, as all of us assembled in the rotunda of this great building of this capitol to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of one of our greatest colleagues, senator daniel k. inouye of hawaii. even noe now his desk sits draped in black and his chair with a lei flown in from his home state of hawaii and all of us this week have known and felt the change in this chamber. the senate has lost a giant, and america has lost a hero. danny inouye was truly a great man, and i feel blessed in my short time here, my two years, to have been -- had the opportunity to sit with him over a private lunch, to joke with him occasionally in the anti-room, to learn something of his spirit and his
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personality. he had such a big heart and such a wonderfully gracious spirit. most of the senators i've had the honor to come to know in these two years, i only knew as a great distance as a local elected official, at someone as a business community at home in delaware. and, frankly, when i asked senator inouye to lunch, i was intimidated. as a congressional medal of honor winner, as a giant of the senate, the chairman of the appropriations committee and the president pro tempore of this senate, i, frankly, trembled to sit with him at a lunch and was delighted to discover a person so approachable, so warm, so human, so hardworking, so loyal, so spirited, and so passionate. so in the minutes ahead, i'd like to share, if i can, a few insights about a dozen other senators who are retiring from this body and afew among them
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who i've had a joy getting to know in the last two years. you don't often see the level of humanity in the senate that we've seen this week, but it's an important one i think. that the people who work in this building can be better than the passing politics that sometimes dominates it. senator danny inouye knew that. his enduring friendship with senator ted stevens, republican of alaska, was legendary. and he believed passionately it was important for us to work together, to get past party affiliation and the picayune matters of the moment and to do the right thing for our country. if i could, of the many speeches i've heard in this chamber and the remarks we heard earlier today in the capitol rotunda, one thing leaps out at me about danny inouye. even when he was declared an
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enemy alien, as were all of his ancestry, at the outset of one of the greatest conflicts this world has known, senator inouye volunteered for service in europe. and in our most decorated military unit, the 442nd combat battalion, he engaged in the fields of europe, in the hill country of italy in a moment of such personal sacrifice and remarkable bravery as to humble any who hear its details. in his service over decades after that moment, he proved what he showed forth on that battlefield -- that danny inouye believed in america even before america believed in him. that even in a moment of such immense injustice in this country, this man's great heart, his aloha spirit, his embrace of the american dream, even in the
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moment when it was made most bitterly unreal, to thousands of people across this country of japanese ancestry, he led us forward, he pulled us into the greatness that is meant for this country. so the star of senator inouye may have dimmed in this chamber, this chamber that is surrounded in its border by stars, but, mr. president, as i share with you the daily honor of presiding over this chamber, i will in the days and months and years ahead looking to our flag remember that this senator, who represented the 50th state, the state of hawaii, from its very first moment of joining the flags -- joining the stars on our flag in statehood, he shown ever more brightly in his decades of service here. and that example of service
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pulls us forward into an ever brighter commitment to human dignity, to decency, to the respect for all in this country that his lifelong service challenged us to believe in. mr. president, there's so many other senators i want to speak to today but let me turn to a few, if i might, and give, if i can in these few minutes, some insights for the folks who only see the members of this chamber on cable tv shows or in the give-and-take of election season or who only know them as the cutouts and caricatures that the public thinks of as senators. if there is a common thread between them, it's that they share that loyalty, that work ethic, and that humility that so characterized senator inouye in his decades of service here. senator dick lugar of indiana, with whom i had the honor to serve on the foreign relations committee, subscribes to that
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same philosophy. over 35 years he served in the senate, he applied the practical perspective that experience as mayor of indianapolis gave him. and he got to the work of making the world a safer place for all of us. along with nine of our colleagues, senator lugar will retire from this chamber this month after a remarkable career. and he knew the stakes were too high to let partisan politics and personality prevent progress. on the foreign relations committee, he partnered with delaware's own joe biden, with senator john kerry, and with senator sam nunn. and because of that work together, there are thousands fewer nuclear weapons in our world. serving with dick lugar these last two years has been a tremendous honor. as has been serving with senator jim webb of virginia, also a member of the foreign relations committee. another retiring colleague who knows there are things in this world in our lives more important than our politics.
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a decorated marine, a celebrated author, a former secretary of the navy, and now a respected senator. his tireless work has helped make the world safer, our veterans stronger, and our criminal justice system more fair. and i will truly miss his company. mr. president, there's a few more retiring senators i'd like to share some more detailed stories about today, but let me, if i might, start with my chairman from the budget committee, senator kent conrad. senator kent conrad of north dakota is a senator i met many, many years ago, but if i'm going to talk about him, i feel i have to have a chart. you really can't speak to kent conrad's service and record here in the united states senate without a chart. senator conrad tackled for decades the challenge of educating the men and women of the senate, the people of this country about the very real fiscal and budgetary challenges facing our country.
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but as you can see, especially after the debut of microsoft exel and then again after he was named budget committee chair, the steady increase in the usage of floor charts by senator conrad has paved a path which few of us can hope to follow. senator conrad is a budget wonk after my own heart, a numbers guy. someone who's not afraid to get into the weeds and to project in a clear and legible format the minutia, the maddening details of the complex federal budget. i'm not sure i've met anyone in the senate so passionately serious about the numbers and about getting them right as my friend, senator conrad. the first time i met him was more than 15 years ago. he'd come to wilmington for an event that senator joe biden, then senator biden, hosted at the delaware heart museum. there was maybe 200 folks in a big auditorium, and i'll never forget senator biden introducing
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senator conrad as literally the most serious, most thoughtful, most detail oriented budget leader in washington. so senator conrad stands up and fires up his slide projector or overhead projector, the lights dim, and he launches into a lengthy discourse on the minutia of the federal budget and the deficit of the time. 30 minutes and more than 40 slides later, the lights come back on. i think there were maybe 20 of us left in the auditorium. everyone else having wandered outside for the cocktails. but i was enthralled by his presentation, by the clarity of his thinking, and by his dedication to getting things right for the american people. today i'm on the budget committee and i've enjoyed serving with senator conrad as my chairman. it was for this budget nerd a dream come true to have the chance to show up on time and know that this budget committee chairman was the other member of the committee who always showed up on time. and it gave us moments to reflect on the challenges we face and on the very real
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solutions that he's offered over these many years of service. senator conrad has earned the deserved respect of his colleagues the old-fashioned w way -- through hard work, attention to detail, and thoughtful leadership. he has been trying and working hard for many years to get us to make the tough choices in the senate we need to make to deal with our national debt. he hasn't given up and i don't intend to either, and i'm grateful for his friendship and service. mr. president, another full committee chairman with whom i had the honor to serve these past two years, senator jeff bingaman of new mexico, chairman of the energy committee. simply one of the kindest, smartest, gentlest people i've ever met. it's been a great pleasure working with him on the energy and natural resources committee. i remember we were both speaking at a conference on advanced energy research this last year out at national harbor. thousands of scientists, investors and entrepreneurs were there. i pulled up in front of the
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massive convention hall and right out in front, prius with new mexico plates. sure enough, chairman jeff bingaman jumps out of the driver's seat -- no staff -- so here's the chairman of the senate energy committee, a senator for nearly 30 years, driving himself to a major policy speech in his prius. practicing what he preaches, prepared to deliver an important speech in a moment that showed his humility. as unassuming a man as senator bingaman is, when he speaks, you listen. he's living proof that the value of one's words can and should exceed their volume. that day at national harbor, senator bingaman delivered a message similar to one he'd given a decade earlier in a report "rising above the gathering storm." jeff bingaman saw that this country was falling behind in the race for innovation, falling behind on investments in research and education, things that lay the foundation for a or
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long-term competitiveness. and this vision, this concern haunted him, so he teamed up with our great colleague, the senator from tennessee, senator lamar alexander, and challenged the national academies of science to study this trend and offer recommendations. from that challenge, we got the seminal study "above the gathering storm." it asked, what would it take for america to continue to lead in innovation and it led to the america competes act and to the creation of arpe-e, the advantaged research projects agency for energy, the very conference at which we've been speaking was the arpe-e conference. both of these important accomplishments played vital roles in our future competitiveness. they're focused on nurturing innovation, creating an ecosystem where political, scientific and economic forces work together and not against each other. that's jeff bingaman. that's his sweeping, long-range vision, one we should all heed. his commitment to thoughtful, forward-looking service on our
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nation's long-term competitiveness is going to be sorely missed. but even more, i know many of us will miss his reserved, dignified passion. i had a similar experience, mr. president, with senator herb kohl, my colleague on the judiciary committee. i remember in my first few months there that senator kohl spoke so rarely that when i first heard him speak at an event on the manufacturing extension partnership, one of his passions and mine, i was struck by the power and reach of his voice. it's because he uses it so sparingly. but his example speaks even louder. he never sought the spotlight here but worked tirelessly to make a difference fighting for the little guy on antitrust issues in the judiciary committee. he believes, as do i, that if an american entrepreneur has a great idea, we should help protect that idea by preventing trade secret theft and other intellectual property threats. we also share a deep commitment to the idea that higher
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education should be more accessible and affordable to every student who wants to pursue it. and i'm honored to have the opportunity to take up from senator kohl's work on these and other important issues. outside this chamber, senator kohl has just a strong a voice and broad an impact with his personal philanthropy but you would never hear him speak about it. that's just not his style. and he's earned my abiding respect with his unassuming grace and his determined leadership. mr. president, those who adhere to the jewish faith around the world are inspired by the ancient concept of tucunalum -- to heal the world. challenge to each us who seek to serve our country and others. senator joe lieberman has certainly risen to that challenge. a man deeply committed to his faith which has influenced his career and his drive to serve, something i share with senator lieberman. my very first congressional
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delegation, my first trip as a senator just a few months after being sworn in visited afghanistan and pakistan, jord jordan, and israel. senator lieberman wrass was on a different codel and we got to share a different in jerusalem one night. as he was crossing the room, i realized he could be elected mayor of jerusalem. and as we sat and broke bread and shared, it was a great comfort for me. earlier that day i had gotten word that delaware had lost one of our great leaders, a person a friend and a remarkable leader and person of kindness in spirit. she was a pioneer of women in my state. over dinner, senator lieberman and i talked about muriel, about what i had seen -- jordan and israel and pakistan and afghanistan. it was just a remarkable moment for me. senator lieberman was engaging
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and warm, interesting and passionate as we talked about policy and faith, and he radio flected with me -- and he reflected with me on the point in his own life when his religion became his faith and how that faith and its lessons have shaped his public servicement for me as a young senator it was a formative moment. his passion for the stability of the world an, his dedicated work for the clarity of the air we breathe, and his tireless advocacy for the equality of all men's, regardless of whom they love, has been inspirational. his desire to work together and find compromise has been motivated. i'm deeply grateful to joe lieberman for his service, his counsel, and his friendship. and his lesson that no matter what faith tradition we're from, we can see our service in this chamber as an opportunity to repair the world. and so, mr. president, here we
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are, five days before my family celebrates christmas, 12 days before the new year and the beginning of the so-called fiscal cliff. our politics have paralyzed this chamber and this town. but what the example of all of these remarkable senators has showed us, what it has taught me, is that we can still be better than our politics. the humanity of this place too often shoved aside by the politics of the moment shows us that we can do better. one by one these senators in delivering their farewell addresses stood at their desks and each urged us to return to the days when senators knew each other and worked together. what will it take to get us to that point again? a horrific tragedy in an elementary school in a dangerous economic cliff? some devastating attack, a cyber assault on america? our retiring colleagues are each telling us, each in turn, that
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it's not too late to restore the humanity of this chamber and make a positive difference in the lives of all we serve. will we heed their call? i hope and pray that we will. because we can do better. weous in better. -- --we must do better. in the spirit of each of these departing colleagues, i will do my level best. i hope we all can commit to doing the same. thank you, and i yield the floor. mr. vitter: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, as we continue to face enormous economic challenges and uncertainty, i rise to join with others in continuing to express concern about too big to fail, a policy that we saw clearly in a large measure coming out of the 2008 crisis, and a policy which many of us thinks continues to this day and puts the american
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taxpayer and the american economy at great risk to this day. this isn't a republican concern or a democratic concern. i.t. not jusit's not just a cone concern or a liberal concern. a lot of us on both sides of the aisle have this cerchlt a good example is a colleague i have been working with closely, senator sherrod brown of ohio. we disagree hon a lot of stuff outside anding within the banking committee's jurisdiction, but we do agree on some things, too, including real concern about too big to fail institutions and the continuation of the implicit policy of too big to fail. that's why he and i have come together on a number of fronts related to this, including legislation which we can pass this week before we end this
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congress that would simply authorize a study -- it is a study resolution -- a stiewrksd bu-- astudy, but an important g. study about too big to fail and those institutions. the idea is real simple. we would ask the guy, a clearly nonpartisan, clearly expert entity with a lot of smarts, with a lot of abilities to do valid, unbiased research -- we would ask them to study whether there is an implicit policy of too big to fail with regard to our largest financial institutions and, if so, what benefits that implicit taxpayer guarantee gives those institutions, and specifically we'd look at bank holding companies with $500 billion or more of consolidated assets and would look specifically at three
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things, among others. first, the favorable pricing of the debt of those institutions resulting from the perception that those institutions would again be bailed out during times of financial stress, as they were in 2008. second, any favorable funding or economic treatment they receive from increased credit ratings directly resulting from perceived government support. and, third, the favorable economic benefit of the 2008 bailouts and existing safety nets of the federal reserve and fdic. mr. president, i think these questions are very legitimate, and i think having an unbiased academic look at that would be very helpful in terms of our continuing work on these issues. we talk about this and debate this all the time. wouldn't it be useful to have an
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unbuyias, apolitical source look at these convection do these big institutions, $500 billion or more in consolidated assets, are they considered too big to fail by the market? and does that perception give them advantages like favorable pricing of debt, like favorable funding or economic treatment from their increased government -- excuse me, increased credit ratings, et cetera? there's a lot at stake here, and it would be very, very hispanicful to -- and it would be very, very helpful to know factual, unbiased answers to these questions. first of all, there's the whole question of too big to fail continuing to exist. i believe it does, but this would put nonpartisan eyes on the question and give us a good sense of, do we have more work to do if, in fact, we want to
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get rid of too big to fail, which we virtually to a person in this chamber profess we want to get rid? secondly, to the extent too big to fail continues as a policy and/or a perception, is it giving advantages to these institutions, market advantages, market distortions, which, by the way, if they are the winners, they're also, by definition, have to be losers, smaller institutions, which are at a competitive disadvantages because of these market distortions, because of these advantages that too big to fail gives these megainstitutions. so, mr. president, i would hope that this is pretty much a no-brainer. it is a study, doesn't mandate any action, and it asks valid questions to which getting unbiased answers would be very helpful in our continuing work.
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that's why senator sherrod brown and i have come together in a bipartisan way to ask these questions. we have developed legislation mandating this g.a.o. study and we're trying to get what we consider should be very noncontroversial legislation passed before the end of the year. now, as it stand now, mr. president, we have cleared this legislation on the republican side. every republican member is perfectly willing to let this pass by unanimous consent. that process has just begun on the democratic side. i would urge all of my colleagues to follow sherrod brown's lead and to allow us to ask and get unbiased answers to these very legitimate questions. i urge everyone on that side to clear it themselves, to join us on our side in clearing it, so we can pass it through the
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senate and get this passed over in the house side, hopefully on the consent calendar, and we're already at work at that. that clearing process will take a little bit of time, but i look forward to coming back and having it cleared by u.c. i'll probably ask for a live u.c. at some appropriate point, tonight or tomorrow, when everyone has cleared had a chance to look at the study legislation, and i look forward to our coming together, i think, in a very sound way, asking these legitimate questions, asking a engine political expert entity -- asking a nonpolitical expert entity to get an answer to these questions so we can m move forward with proper policy-making. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor back. i suggest the absence of a quorum. a senator: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mrs. hagan: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. hagan: i also ask unanimous consent that i be permitted to speak for up to 15 minutes as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. hagan: mr. president, just a few months, a i spoke on the senate floor about the men and women of our armed forces who are deployed overseas, particularly i spoke about remembering the men and women who give selflessly of themselves, who died for the good of our nation. these souls, whose lives are eliminated by purpose and who travel long roads paved with sacrifice, they are the important 1%, the tiny fraction who go wherever in the world our country asks them to go, who honorably shoulder the burden of fear and sacrifice for the rest of us, because they love this country and believe in defending it. today, as we prepare to celebrate the holiday season
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with our family and loved ones, i once again want to ask each and every one of you to remember these men and women, these brave souls whose belief in this country is so great that they willingly and without qualification put life and limb on the line so that 99% of us don't have to spend our days and nights wondering if our loved ones are safe. remember that we are still a nation at war, that there are over 170,000 members of our armed forces deployed, many of them in harm's way, many of them from my home state of north carolina. this year these service members deployed will not be celebrating with those near and dear to them because they will be on watch protecting the very freedoms and the way of life we hold so dear. our servicemen and women don't ask for anything from you, but, please, think of them, remember them, thank them, and please
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keep them in your prayers. remember the sacrifices endured by so many of our military families who are at home now without their dads, moms, brothers, sisters, husbands, or wives. and, most importantly, at this time of year and always, remember that there are many service members who will never come home. while many families miss their loved ones now, especially during the holiday season, some will endure that loss for the rest of their lives. these husbands and wives, moms and dads a, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, did not bargain for the pain of waking up each and every day without their partner, a child, a friend, or the person who used to tuck them into bed each night. they did not ask to spend the rest of their lives missing someone so important to them. remember them as you do your holiday shopping, go to parties, exchange gifts, and otherwise
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get caught up in the spirit of the season. remember the family of sergeant justin c. marquez, from north carolina. justin died this past october 6 from small arms fire wounds he received while on foot patrol in afghanistan, just one month after he arrived in theater. justin was 25 years old. i spoke with justin's mom, terry. she told me that as a boy, justin questioned authority a lot. but, she said, it was always because he was standing up for what he thought was right, defending someone else against an injustice or prejudice. justin was a good son. he believed in helping others, standing up for others. he was a kid other parents trusted and a big brother to so many. a neighborhood guardian, if you
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will, his house was the weekend hangout. younger kids would come over. when his mom questioned when the younger kids should go home, her son told her, "mom, don't worry. they are happy being here." not everyone has the fairy tale life like our family does. justin's family was a little surprised when he announced he wanted to join the army at 18. they wanted him to finish school, to continue growing up. but justin had other plans. he wanted to go out in the world and make a difference for others, and the army was how he was going to do this. he was eager to do his part, to stand up for our country, our government, our people and our way of life. he understood how precious our freedoms are and how fortunate he was to be an american. justin's life was cut short, tragically so. but his dad, mom and twin brother got to see him grow from a boy to a man. he made their lives full and
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challenged them to be better people. according to terry, his mom, as justin grew up in the army, he was like a fine wine. he just kept getting better with age. justin understood the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of our great nation. they are precious and valuable. he believed in protecting others. he believed in making the world a better place. he believed in standing up so that others might not have to. interestingly, justin's mom bought justin and his twin brother drew to washington, d.c. when they were in middle school. they sat in the gallery in this very chamber, and i think it is fitting that we remember and honor him here. sergeant justin marquez was a dedicated soldier. he had found his purpose. he believed in what he was doing, and we must remember how fortunate we are to have country men like him, people committed to fighting for the freedoms we
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so often take for granted. mrs. marquez shared with me that she doesn't worry about justin anymore. he is taken care of and is safe now. but because of him, she now worries for all the other soldiers. we all need to keep these men and women in mind too and support them and stand with them and their families. we also need to remember the family of could remember daniel l. lynnberry, united states marine corps, from hubert, north carolina. daniel died on august 6 at the age of 23 while conducting combat operations in helmand province, afghanistan. dan always wanted to be a marine. he made his decision at the early age of four and want to be a marine until the day he died. he was the third generation of his family to serve in the marine corps, and for 46 years there's been at least one
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lineberry in the marine corps. no wonder he knew that he wanted to be a marine at such a young age. dan loved the corps, but more than that, he loved his wife of just a year, chelsea, and baby daughter rosa lee. i spoke with dan's wife chelsea, and she impressed upon me that dan was much more than a marine. she needed me to know that he was first and foremost a good husband and a good father. just a really great guy who loved his wife and loved being a dad. dan's baby girl rosa lee just turned seven months old this past weekend. dan got to spend only seven weeks with her before deploying. three of those weeks an extra blessing because baby rosa lee was in such a hurry to meet her dad that she arrived three weeks early. from the minute dan first held his tiny daughter, he and everyone else knew that he was made to be a dad, that he that d
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always love and do whatever was necessary to care for his family. now rosa lee will grow up with only photos of her dad but she will always have a connection to him through those who served with him. the men of second tank battalion told dan's wife that they look forward to meeting baby rosa lee when they get back from their deployment early next year. that's just what these men and women do. they look after one another and the families that are left behind. yes, they are service members. but first and foremost, they are human beings, putting others before themselves. we need to follow their lead. another thing chelsea shared with me was that dan loved her enough to be honest with her always. he didn't sugar coat things. he prepared her as much as anyone for any eventuality. but how much can you really prepare someone to live the rest of their life without their soul
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mate? to raise their daughter without her dad? to explain to her that dad gave his life to protect others, especially when too many of us are not even aware of these sacrifices? dan was a marine. he was doing what he believed in. his wife knew it was a dangerous job and that the worst could happen because dan told her. she just never thought that it would be on this, his first deployment, or on this war. he died fighting for our freedoms and lived by a code that most of us will in which understand but for which we must be thankful. as you spend time with your loved ones this season, remember corporal dan lineberry and thank him. this is a time of year about belief. different cultures and different faiths have different beliefs. and this is what makes our country the greatest nation on earth, be it faith, politics or
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other things, we are all free to believe what we choose. and we must remember that there are special men and women in this world oftentimes strangers to us who are willing to give their lives for our right to believe in what we choose. but one thing we should all agree upon is that we must -- we must stand behind and beside the men and women that are willing to pay a debt they do not owe so that other americans don't have to. our service members are from small towns, our big cities and our rural areas. they are our neighbors and they are our fellow americans. and they are my fellow north carolinians. justin marquez, daniel lineberry, just a couple of the heroes who lived among us. we must remember them and honor them now and always.
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so at this time of the year i want to extend my warmest wishes of the holiday season to our service members, both those serving now and those who have gone before us, and to the families and friends who cannot be with their loved ones. thank you, mr. president. and i ask -- note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. a senator: mr. president, thank you. i ask unanimous consent to address the senate as if in morning business. the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. mr. moran: mr. president, i ask the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. moran: mr. president, i ask the senate to address the
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senate as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. moran: thank you, mr. president. certainly so many serious issues that we face in this country and so many tragedies have occurred. i was on the floor earlier this week paying tribute to the lost lives in connecticut and two police officers killed in the line of duty in topeka, kansas, this week and the death of our colleague; certainly serious issues we face. now waiting the house to pass legislation in regard to the cliff. this is perhaps a lighter subject. i want to pay tribute to something that's such a great tradition in our state of kansas and really across the country. football is something that is important to communities across my state. on friday nights each fall of each year thousands of americans, they gather at their local high school football fields to cheer on their favorite teams. this tradition has stood strong for decades on the kansas prairie, but it's especially
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true in a little town not too far from my hometown, in the town of smith center. there are few, if any, high school football fans in our state who are unaware of smith center's reputation. coach roger barda and his red men football team have won more than 320 games and eight state championships, five in a row. they are even known here in washington, d.c. a few years ago when they were on their 79-game winning streak, people would ask me if i ever heard of smith center, kansas, and i would say, certainly, yes. what's the story? they read in the sports page that smith center had scored 74 points on another team in the first quarter. it turned out to be my hometown of plainville. 74 points in the first quarter, this is an amazing team. but under that leadership of coach barda, the redmond football team set state and national records and that 79-game winning streak is a remarkable achievement and caught the attention of "the new
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york times." a "new york times" sports writer, in fact, joe drape, a reporter, moved his family from new york city to smith center, kansas, and lived there for an entire school year to chronicle the team's achievements and to write about the community. he tells their story in his best-selling book called "our boys: a perfect season on the plains." there are many reasons for this team's success that would bring a "new york times" reporter to this small town, but i think the community of smith center would agree with me that perhaps the greatest reason behind their success is their head coach, coach roger barda. the coach's 323 victories place him among the top five coaches in all-time kansas football on the list of wins. and in 2007, he was named the gator-aid national coach of the year. but this season, after 35 years of coaching, coach barda
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announced he was ready to hang up his whistle and retire. i had the opportunity to participate in several pregame flips of the coin with coach barda and his team over a number of seasons including the 2009 state title game, and each time i watched a very talented and sportsman like football team and a very spirited set of fans from smith center and across the region. yet, all the success that this team has enjoyed on the field is not what makes them so remarkable. the truly exceptional work being done on the plains of kansas is the development of character in the boys of the smith center football team. it is the respect the athletes learn to have for their teammates and opponents on the field. it is the integrity the boys are expected to have both on and off the field. and it's the hardworking spirit they take with them when they graduate. as a member of the redmond football team, the athletes are not expected just to excel on
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the field but in the classroom and the community as well. from school plays to school concerts, the redmond do more than simply play football and coach barda deserves more than just coach football. he serves them as a role model and mentor for young men and the community. i remember the story in the book that says that when one of the team members violates a team rule, young fourth grade staourts -- students in smith center, kansas, have a player card and that football team member that violates the rule has to go to the fourth grader and apologize to the fourth grader. coach barda's wife had this to say about her husband's commitment: roger likes everything about football but what he loves most are the practices, camaderie and letting the boys learn a little more.
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in the book about the redmond, the writer extols the virtues we in america hold so dear: humility, sacrifice and unwavering commitment are all the characteristics that are exemplified by the red men and their fans. perhaps coach barda's greatest legacy as he leaves the coaching field within smith center, former men who left college for work and eventually return home, a former player is now an assistant coach and he had this to say about working alongside coach barda: we all had opportunities but this is where we learned to love one another and work hard and build a community. if we can have an impact on kids' lives like coach barda, we want to do it in our hometown. this attitude exemplifies the teaching, coaching and parenting philosophy of rural america.
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our populations are dwindling and our communities are aging, but our commitment to raising responsible children and preparing them to be successful in life is something that will never leave us. i'm thankful that coach barda and his staff understand this and i'm proud to be a part of the country that remains committed to that way of life. coach barda said it best: what we do really well around here is raise kids. none of this is really about football. what we are doing is sending kids into life who know that every day means something. congratulations to coach barda for his outstanding achievements over the last three decades, but thank you most importantly for your investment in the lives of young men from smiths center. their lives are forever changed because of you. mr. president, i notice the
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absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. mr. akaka: i ask for unanimous consent to speak as though in
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morning business. the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. mr. akaka: mr. president, i rise today as my friend -- the presiding officer: without objection, the quorum call is dispensed with. the senator from hawaii. mr. akaka: mr. president, i rise today as my friend, my colleague, my brother dan inouye lies in state in the capitol rotunda just a few yards from where i stand now. in life, he received our nation's highest military honor, the medal of honor, and today he is receiving a tribute reserved for just a handful of american heroes like abraham lincoln.
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i come to the floor today to speak about an important piece of legislation that i developed and worked with dan inouye on for over 12 years. today in senator dan inouye's honor and for all the people of hawaii, i am asking the senate to pass the hawaiian government reorganization act. dan and i developed our bill to create a process that could address the many issues that continue to persist as a result of the legal overthrow of the kingdom of hawaii in 1893. as you know, dan inouye was a champion for hawaii and worked
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every day of his honorable life to solve problems and help our island state. dan also served on the indian affairs committee for over 30 years and chaired it twice. he was an unwavering advocate for the united states government-to-government relationships with native nations. he constantly reminded our colleagues in the senate about our nation's trust responsibilities, and our treaty obligations to america's first peoples. dan believed that through self-determination and self-governance, these communities could thrive and contribute to the greatness of the united states.
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when asked how long the united states would have a trust responsibility to native communities, i would quote the treaties between the united states and native nations, which promised care and support as long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. dan inouye's sheer determination to improve the lives of this country's indigenous peoples and make good on the promises america made to them led him to introduce more than 100 pieces of legislation on behalf of american indians, alaska natives, and native hawaiians. senator dan inouye secured passage of the native hawaiian
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health care improvement act, the native hawaiian education act, the hawaiian homelands recovery act and the native hawaiian ownership act. he was instrumental in helping me to enact the apology resolution to the native hawaiian people for the suppression of their right of self-determination. it was enacted on the 100th anniversary of the overthrow of the kingdom of hawaii. in 1999, dan and i worked together to develop the native hawaiian government reorganization act to give parity to native hawaiians. for over 12 years now, we worked together to pass the bill, to ensure that native hawaiians have the same rights
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as other native peoples and an opportunity to engage in the same government-to-government relationship with the united states already granted over 560 native nations throughout this country across the continental u.s. and in alaska. but not yet in hawaii. over the years, people have mischaracterized the intent and effect of our bill. so let me be plain. for me, as i know it was for dan, this bill is about simple justice, fairness in federal policy, and being a nation that acknowledges that while we
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cannot undo history, we can right past wrongs and move forward. to us, this bill represents what is pono, in hawaiian, what is just and right. our bill is supported by president barack obama and the departments of justice and interior. it has the strong support of hawaii's governor and the state legislature, and a large majority of the people of hawaii. our bill has the endorsement of the american bar association, the national congress of american indians, the alaska federation of natives, and groups throughout the native hawaiian community. as a senator and senior
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statesman, senator dan inouye advocated that congress do its job and legislate where native communities were concerned. dan inouye believed that a promise made should be a promise kept. in the days since my dear friend , dan's passing, there has been a tremendous outpouring of love from hawaii and every other state in the union, and native communities across the country are mourning the loss and paying tribute to their great champion. dan inouye's absence will be felt in this chamber, and the nation for many years to come. may his legacy live on for
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generations of native americans and inspire all americans to always strive towards justice and reconciliation. so, mr. president, i urge my colleagues to pass the native hawaiian government reorganization act in the memory of senator daniel k. inouye and his desire to provide parity to the native hawaiian people he loved so much. and to dan, i say aloha oi and hulio, my brother. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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ms. murkowski: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: thank you, mr. president. i request proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: thank you, mr. president. i was watching my friend and colleague, senator akaka, as he was delivering his comments earlier about senator inouye and about this legislation that both he and our dear friend and former colleague have worked so hard on over the years and i wanted to come to the floor this evening and just tell my friend that i am deeply appreciative of the words that you have delivered. as the chairman of the senate committee on indian affairs, i would certainly hope that the senate would respect your thinking as you have outlined as relates to the native hawaiian government reorganization act. as you know well, i have long been a supporter of that act.
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it is indeed an honor to have worked with you on it, as well as our dear friend and late colleague, senator inouye. this legislation has been going on for some ten years now and i think it's fair to say that it truly has been a bipartisan effort, not only here in washington, d.c. but in hawaii as well. for several years when governor lengthle was governor of hawaii, she was back here helping on the republican side of the aisle, so it was an effort that not only i was able to share with you but knowing that the support there in hawaii to persuade colleagues to enact this important legislation, that all of that moved forward. mr. president, i firmly believe that this cause of native hawaiians is just. the native people of hawaii are
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similarly situated to the native people of alaska. both are aboriginal people from former territories. yet the fact of the matter is that the two peoples are not treated the same for purposes of federal indian law. the native people of alaska are recognized as among the first peoples of the united states, their tribes appear on the interior department's list of federally recognized indian tribes, and they have access to important federal indian programs that truly have improved the quality of life for alaska natives. the native people of hawaii, however, are not federally recognized among the first people of the united states, and for more than a decade now efforts to provide federal recognition have been filibustered and i would suggest unjustly so. i mentioned that senator inouye and senator akaka have worked
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valiantly to create programs for them that parallel those available to american indians and alaska natives, but this is not enough. justice demands that the native people of hawaii earn the federal recognition that is rightfully theirs. the time to provide parity and justice for hawaii's native people is now. the native hawaiian government reorganization act which has passed out of the senate committee on indian affairs on which you sit, mr. president, i think is responsible bill, it is a constitutional vehicle to accomplish this objective. as we began our morning paying tribute to -- to our friend and former colleague, senator inouye, as we think about hawaii and its peoples as we remember the contributions of
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senator inouye, and as we recognize senator akaka as he departs from this body after years and years of honorable service, i would hope that within this body we would not forget the efforts that they have worked on so valiantly. and i will commit to you, my friend, senator akaka, that the cause that you have taken up, that you have worked on so hard with senator inouye, this cause will not die until justice for the native people of hawaii is achieved. i thank you for your leadership in this. and with that, mr. president, i was going to yield the floor but i think i might take a moment to provide my remarks regarding senator akaka and his contribution here, if i may. if i may just indulge for a few
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more moments here. mr. president, i rise to speak on behalf of my friend, my colleague, senator daniel akaka, who's set to retire after 22 years of dedicated service in the united states senate. he has been a personal friend to me, he has been a personal friend to my family, to my -- my parents. he and his wife millie, a wonderful, beautiful woman, have been leaders on behalf of the people of hawaii and have long been friends and partners to the people of alaska. senator akaka has served our nation and the great state of hawaii honorably for nearly 70 years. that is an incredible contribution. his service began in 1943 immediately following his graduation from the kamamea
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school for boys and girls in honolulu. the japanese attack on pearl harbor had taken place a year earlier only five miles from his dormitory steps. and in the hours immediately following that attack, senator akaka, who was a 17-year-old rotc cadet, helped his classmates search for paratroopers in the fields above his school grounds. and like so many others of his generation, senator akaka answered the call of duty, joined the u.s. army, first with the corps of engineers as a mechanic and a welder and later as a noncommissioned officer. in 1952, senator akaka used the g.i. bill to earn his degree in education from the university of hawaii and began his lifelong dedication to our nation's students, first as a teacher, then as a principal at a high school in honolulu, and later with the state department of health, education and welfare. senator akaka was first elected to the u.s. house of representatives in 1976 and then
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went on to win six more elections. it was clearly toaft the people of -- it was clearly evident to the people of hawaii within that 2nd congressional district that they valued his passion and his dedication for the office. in 1990, after the death of senator spark matsnagua, senator akaka was appointed and then subsequently elected to the seat in the u.s. senate that he has held for 22 years now. senator akaka's fortitude, his determination have not waned in these 70 years. as the first native hawaiian ever to serve in the senate and the only indigenous person currently serving in the senate, he is a proven champion for american indians, alaska natives and native hawaiians. it was just in october of this year that senator akaka came to alaska and he was honored by the
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alaska federation of natives with the denali award. and this award is presented to an individual who is not of alaska native dissent but it's presented to an individual for their contributions to the growth and development of the alaska native community, the culture, the economy and the health. and senator akaka has done that repeatedly over the years. the efforts that he has worked on, whether it is -- it is bigger initiatives or whether it is to ensure that the people in -- in king cove have access to an airport so that their lives aren't threatened in a medical emergency, they can get out. senator akaka has stepped up to -- to help ensure that -- that the people of alaska are cared for. it has truly been a pleasure to work with senator akaka over these past ten years on the
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senate indian affairs committee. the chairmanship that you have administered has been admired, it's been appreciated by all of those of us who are on that committee. senator akaka's leadership, wisdom and grasp of issues have helped us to work together towards many visions and goals that we share. the save native women act, this is a bill to help protect native women and children across our 565 federally recognized tribes. this was largely incorporated into the senate version of the 2012 violence against women act. we need to make sure that that legislation passes and ensure that again, as we think about the statistics that so many of our native peoples face, that we are making appropriate gains and strides to help address them. and chairman akaka worked with us on that.
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we fought to ensure the preservation of native languages not only in our communities but within our classrooms. and as i -- as i mentioned, i have long supported the -- the concept that senator inouye, senator akaka have -- have championed with regards to federal recognition of native hawaiians. but senator akaka is also special to two other constituencies, our federal employees and our veterans. he is one of this body's leading experts on some of the more arcane laws that apply to -- to federal civil service. alaska's federal employees clearly appreciate his leadership on the nonforeign area act which made them eligible for locality pay that counts towards retirement. this is -- this is an issue in my state that took some time t
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to -- to negotiate and to move through, but the federal employees in alaska, as they are seeing the benefits of that locality pay, owe thanks and gratitude to the work of senator akaka. and, of course, he knows well the laws that govern the u.s. postal service probably as well as anyone in this body here. during senator akaka's tenure as chairman of the senate veterans' affairs committee, this body has made great progress in ensuring that the v.a. had a budget commensurate with its needs. senator akaka's contributions to ensuring that post 9/1 post-9/1s had access to critically needed health and education resources will endure. as neighbors in the pacific, alaska and hawaii have always shared a very special bond not only because of our geography, not only because of our time differences. every time i endure a 12-hour
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flight across country to go home, a home that is four time zones away, i'm reminded that senator akaka, it takes him a couple hours more and one time zone more for him to get home. so it's not only our geography that binds us, but we have many other similarities. our indigenous peoples, the relative youth of our states, our unique landscapes. and for years, our delegations have worked together across the aisle for the good of our people. senator akaka's bipartisan approach, his willingness to work towards success will be missed by myself and so many of our colleagues. and, of course, i don't think senator akaka would call it bipartisanship, he would call it aloha. we work in the aloha spirit. and with that, i would like to tell my friend and my colleague, mahaolo, from the bottom of my heart, mahaolo. i'm going to miss you, senator
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akaka. i'm going to miss your wife millie, your entire extended family. but as you return home to your beloved hawaii, know that you have left an impression on so many. and with that, mr. chairman, i thank you, and i yield the floor. and i do suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. merkley: i don't think it
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will come as a surprise to anyone that the u.s. senate, once famed as the world's greatest deliberative body shall has become paralyzed.
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now, at the heart of that paralysis is a change in the use of the filibuster. now, a filibuster is a term that comes -- i believe it is from the dutch -- and it refers to piracy. and in this context, it's really about someone taking over this chamber, taking over the normal process by which we debate issues and decide issues here in the u.s. national by majority vote. and in the past, what everyone understood at the very heart of what we do here is to make decisions by majority vote, the filibuster to take over this carriage the objection to a simple-majority vote was very rare. people did this only once or twice in a career for some issue of profound personal values or of extreme concern to an issue in their state. and it was most often small
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factions that would do this. in 1916 there was a debate, a debate that went on about whether or not to put weaponry on our commercial shipping. this is a pre-world war i, and in the course of that debate, there was a group, a small faction, that said we're going to interrupt -- we're going to object to the simple majority because we strongly oppose the u.s. putting any defenses on its merchant vessels, even those vessels being sunk as they went over to europe, being sunk by the germans. and this was enormously frustrating to presiden to presn and it was frustrating to the members of this chamber who said we must complete debate and make a decision and only a small number want to block us from making that decision. so th they adopted the followig
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year a rule that you could close debate if you had two-thirds of this game voting to close debate. that's called cloture. well, cloture continued to be an instrument that in situations where you had an individual or a small group that stretched the limits of the courtesy of full debate, then the chamber as a whole could say, enough is enough; we need to bring this debate to an end and make a decision. over time things have changed. this objection to a simple majority, which makes it impossible for the chamber to end debate, has grown from that occasional use to a routine instrument of legislative destruction. it's used on virtually kwrefrp debatable -- every debatable motion. a single bill can have seven or
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so steps where you have a debatable motion. in that situation, an objection to a simple majority can be done multiple times. and each one of those objections wastes a week of the senate's time on this floor, which means that the senate not only cannot decide the issue at hand, it runs out of time to debate and deliberate on the other issues that we should be doing on this floor. as i'll show on a chart later, you can measure this in part by the action on appropriations bills. we have an expectation of, it used to be 13 appropriations bills. now it's 12. in the last two years we've done exactly one. one out of 24. totally unacceptable in terms of this chamber fulfilling its responsibility just in that one area of appropriations, decisions about how to spend moneys in different parts of the government. i know when meme hear this word -- when people hear this
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word "filibuster" they don't think of simply a silent objection. yet that is what it is in the rules, a silent objection to the simple majority. they think of someone taking the floor right here and making their case on an issue of deep principle or deep concern to their state. and they might be thinking a little bit about a picture that looks a little like this. this is that famous scene from "mr. smith goes to washington." jimmy stewart is on the floor. he talks through the night, making his case. and he is fighting for fairness and justice in the face of corruption. that's what people think of when they think of a filibuster. but the way it works today, it's a simple objection. we ask the unanimous consent request, meaning do all hundred senators agree for us to go to
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final vote, and someone says "i object." that's all that's required. that's all that's ever been required. but in the past that objection to the heart of democracy to the simple majority meant you felt honor bond to come to the senate floor and make your case while you stood in the way of decision making of this august chamber. but that sevens honor-bound responsibility to make your case before your colleagues, make your case before the american people has disappeared. indeed, instead of the filibuster being something done by an individual or small group, it's now used as an instrument of party warfare. the minority party, be it the democrats or be it the republicans, say you know, we can slow down the majority by eating up their time. and we can do it by filing objection on every debatable motion. and we will simply eat up the
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calendar and prevent them from getting their work done, and then we'll say how incompetent they are, they can't get their work done after we have caused them to be unable to do it. i thought i would go through the enormous expansion, again, of this tool, legislative destruction in many different categories in the years since 1970. before we do that, by the way, every now and then someone says, you know, the u.s. senate was designed as a supermajority body. while indeed that could not be further from the truth. there are specific cases where our forefathers said a supermajority makes sense. in the case of overriding a presidential veto, in the case of approving a treaty. in the case of having a constitutional amendment. but they viewed that these legislative chambers, like every legislative chamber in the world, would make decisions by
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simple majority. in fact, they address this in the "federalist papers." here we have alexander hamilton and his commentary on supermajority decision making was fierce. he said, and this is just a small part of his diatribe about how destructive it would be to have this chamber tied up in a supermajority. he referred to it as driving tedious delays, continual negotiations and intrigue -- contemptible compromises of the public good. well, we have seen some of those tedious delays. we have seen some of those contemptible compromises. and certainly he was looking into the crystal ball and accurately summarizing the situation. but he was not alone. here we have his compatriot james madison, also in the federalist paper. he noted that with regard to the
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supermajority the fundamental principle of free government would be reversed. and by fundamental principle, he's talking about the fact that when you make a decision by seufrp -- simple majority, you're making the decision most people think is the right direction to go. but when you make a decision by supermajority and a minority can block it, you're making a decision the smaller number think is the right decision. and that in that sense you have a series of worse decisions within a series of best decisions. so the wisdom of the group tapping into the expertise of colleagues who come from many directions, many walks of life, isn't realized. so let's take a look at what's happened in this use of the objection to a simple majority, otherwise known as a filibuster. here we are evaluating it in terms of the cloture petitions
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that are filed. these are petitions that are designed to drive a vote on whether to close debate. it's one way of measuring the number of filibusters. so how about nominations? we can see that basically the first filibusters on nominations were about in 1970. i was about 14 years old. i was starting high school. that's when this started to be done. and we can see that as time passed, we have an enormous increase in the number of filibusters on nominations. over here in 2012, 24. it's really a situation where these are only cloture petitions. so many other nominations were blocked because of threatened filibusters. so we have this fast number of positions in the executive branch, this vast number of
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judge positions that are unfilled. so the advise and consent clause in the constitution that gives this chamber of the senate the chance to weigh in has been turned through the expanded use of the filibuster into a tool that damages the other branches of government. it prevents the president from having his team that he would like to have and it blocks us from getting the judges on to the courts so that we can have the sort of speedy criminal justice system that we envisioned and promised. that was just nominations. les take a look at some other areas. the motion to proceed is the very first step for a bill. it's a motion to get the bill on the floor to debate. that was virtually never filibustered. we have one time down here in 1932. we're into the 60's and early
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70's, and it takes off. we see this massive expansion that makes no sense unless you're just trying to paralyze the system because niece filibusters aren't in any way construed to enhance debate. these are to prevent debate, prevent us from getting to a bill to debate it. prevent an agenda from ever being considered by this body. here we have over 30, 20, to prevent bills from ever getting to this floor to be debated. how can we weigh in and help address the big issues facing our nation if you can't even get the bill on the floor to begin with? in recent times enormous change in strategy used by the minority to prevent debate. and here we have amendments. the first time about 1962 a filibuster was used on an amendment. because people envision the
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filibuster as something you use at the end of the process on a bill. something you put in place and say is there are a core principle compromise after i've fought and won and won and lost? then folks got the clever idea we can do this on any debatable motion including an amendment. the number of filibusters on amendments grew enormously from the early 1970's forward. final passage, now this is where we see the traditional role of the filibuster. one or two or three a year over these many years from the 1920's on through, the 1960's. you stop the chart right here in the middle. that's what are the filibuster was. very occasional battles over core principles. then we have 1970, and look what happened.
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we have this ex-kphroegs up to 25. i believe that was 1974. what happened as a as a result? in 1974 there was a big battle on the floor about changing the rules because this abuse was preventing the senate from doing its business. you have this enormous battle. there are three votes in which a simple majority says we can change the rules by simple majority and we intend to do so. and the majority leader who opposed this finally said okay, i guess the message. a simple majority is prepared to change the rules if we don't address the parl seus of the -- the paralysis of the senate and they changed the rules. the compromise was to change it from 67 required to close debate down to 60. from two-thirds down to three-fifths. you can see the number of filibusters dropped off and were resolved more easily. but what do we have? again, this enormous explosion until 2012, 35 filibusters.
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this, again, were deeply afflicted, and this is why we're having this conversation over how to save the senate from itself, from this instrument of the objection to simple majority is being used to thwart the ability of the people's elected leaders from addressing the issues our nation faces. after a bill has gone through passage, it goes over to the house. the house bill comes over to the senate. and when both chambers passed the same bill in different forms, then you need to get it to negotiation. that's done through a conference committee. it used to be nobody filibustered a conference committee. here we have in 1972, the first filibuster in our conference committee. why would you object to getting the three motions done that are required to get a bill into negotiation with the house? that doesn't if a sill date
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debate in any -- that doesn't facilitate debate in any way. it's kind of like walking knee-deep in molasses. you just can't get very far very quickly. then we see this huge explosion of using the filibuster. the objection of simple majority here in the later part of this last decade. and the result has been this: we've basically given up on conference committees. it's too hard to get to conference committee. so we have informal negotiations or we have a process called ping where we change the house bill where we pass our own version. we change it, send it back over. they change it, send it back over to us. not a very effective way to negotiate a compromise that can pass both chambers in the same form. and until and unless it passes both chambers in the same form
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to get to the president. so this was a huge change as well. then we have, after conference committee, reports coming back from conference. now you have the same version. again, we see this explosion once basically in about 1945 and about 1970 an explosion. then we see the dropoff in part because we started giving up on conference committees. in each one of those faye -- those we've got a problem, a problem that's grown enormously the last 40 years. this is something i've witnessed within my own lifetime. i came here in 1976 as an intern for senator hatfield. i was assigned to the tax reform act of 1976. in those days there was no camera on this floor and there was no e-mail. so essentially the only way the senator had to monitor a bill
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was that he or she would meet with a staff member outside of these doors over here where the elevators are. and so i would sit up in the staff gallery up there and monitor the debate on the tax reform act and i would rush down with each vote, meet senator hatfield coming out of the elevators, brief him on the details of the amendment -- there were sometimes a couple layers of motions -- and i would proceed to say here's what the folks are thinking about back home, how many folks are thinking about this issue. he would come here to vote. and i would rush back upstairs to see how he voted, how everyone else voted, how it came out and started making notes on the next debate.
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these amendments were relevant to the issue. they had to do with different aspects of the tax code. was it an expansion of employ stock ownership plans, esops, something senator hatfield cared about a great deal? was it a change in provision regarding teachers home offices, something every teacher in oregon was writing us about it seemed. we debated these issues. we decided these issues, and it was a simple majority. that's the way the senate deliberated and decided issues over our history until the last 40 years when this massive, massive expansion of the use of the objection to simple majority has paralyzed this body.
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i thought that it was interesting to see this cartoon. it says "i'll tell you all the reasons we shouldn't reform the filibuster." i assume it's depicting a senator on the floor of the senate. number one, it could restrict my ability to frivolously stymie everything. then the senator says number two, -- well, the senator thinks about it, grimaces, frowns, can't think of any other reason that we shouldn't reform the filibuster other than the ability to frivolously stymie everything. and then finally the senator says how long do i have to keep talking? and little partner down here says you could read recipes for paralysis. well, that's what we have. that's what we have in the u.n.
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senate right with -- u.s.a. senate right now with the extraordinary abuse of the filibuster, is we have a recipe for paralysis. so it's time to do something about that. and the first thing we should do is eliminate the filibuster on the motion to proceed. that was that first step in the process i showed in the earlier chart. because it doesn't make sense to debate whether to debate. yes, you should be able to vote on whether the bill comes to the floor. let's have a restricted number of hours, a couple of hours to debate that and then we vote, simple majority vote. decide yes, we're taking up that bill, yes, we're taking up that nomination or no, we're not and on to the next business. but not a week of wasted senate time trying to decide whether or not we're going to have a debate on a bill or on a nomination. and you may wonder, well, why is it a week of wasted time? well, it works like this. first of all, you have the motion. and then there's debate that takes place and you think you're
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going to wrap it up but you don't. then you say we need to have a motion to close debate and to do that you have to get a petition signed by 16 senators. so maybe day two or day three you get the petition. and then the petition has to ripen meaning it has to sit over intervening day. we started the debate on monday, signed the petition on tuesday, now we can't vote on whether to close debate until thursday, and then you have to have -- if you succeed in that vote, you get 60 votes, you have to have 30 hours of postcloture debate. well, you can see the week is gone. 30 hours wipes out friday. now, that if done multiple times on a bill means multiple weeks are wiped out with nothing productive, no productive conversation on this floor, no point and counterpoint, no insights from people's life experience. no questions asked and questions answered. nothing.
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nothing productive. well, if you really want to sum up all of the filibusters, all these different motions, here's one way to compare it. lyndon johnson was majority leader for six years. during those six years, he had to file one petition, thrinl it's called a motion but you have 16 people sign a petition. one motion to end debate in six years. one. and now we have harry reid, majority leader for six years and as as this poster says, 387 and counting and i think the number today is 391. 391. 391 one-week delays in six years. now, how many weeks are there in six years? well, that would be about 312. is that right?
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yeah, 312. 312 weeks, 387 and counting, 390 weeks wasted. no wonder we don't get our work done here, our nominations done for the executive branch, our nominations done for the judiciary, our appropriations bills, the authorizing bills, the policy changes that are going to make a big impact on the challenges we face in america. one versus 387, which is now a couple of days old, 391 and counting. we can't allow this to continue. we have a responsibility to the people who elected us to be a seasoned, deliberative body. now, some say, well, you know what, this is what the senate is all about. and they recite a story that
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historians say is aprostate cancerry fal, about president president -- apockry pal. about thomas jerches and george washington. the senate is metropolitan to be the cooling saucer, as you poured your hot tea into the saucer so you could drink it, the senate is meant to be a cooling saucer. well, perhaps the senate was meant to be a cooling saucer but it wasn't meant to be a deep freeze. the cooling saucer concept is that the senate is a little more detached from the immediate fashion of the moment. it's a little more detached because we're elected for six-year terms, not two-year terms. it's a little more detached because we're staggered so some have been here two years and four years and in their first term and many years thereafter. it's got a little more distance
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on the immediate trends because in the beginning we were indirectly elected by state legislatures. of course, we changed that, we changed that early 1900's because of the abuses that occurred in that system, went to direct election of senators. but that was the idea. longer terms, a little bit more deliberation, a smaller body of folks here in the senate, two per state, but that was so we could deliberate thoughtfully, not so we could not deliberate. so there's a big difference. this is unacceptable. if this majority leader was a republican and the democrats were doing this, it would be unacceptable. it's unacceptable for either minority party to devise and execute a strategy that prevents this body from doing its work. now, the thing that's really diabolical about the filibuster is that in the procedural
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sense, it is invisible. so you have this unanimous consent request, this courtesy, is everyone ready, shall we vote, and when the senate was a small senate and prior to 1970, virtually always the answer was yes. except for those rare moments on issues of deep values. but now it's done as a minority party stradd strathy to object struck and done on every motion, virtually every motion. because it's an objection to a vote, it isn't required -- it never has required people to talk on the floor. and, of course, we all believe that someone has to talk on the floor because that's the way it was done. if you violated the majority principle, you had the courage and principle to come to this floor and explain yourself to your colleagues and the american people. but no longer.
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now there is no courage. it's instead hiding, it's in hiding because let me give you an example. we had a bill on the floor here and this was 2010, it was called the disclose act. and the disclose act said that every donation the public should know where it comes from. if it comes from ranchers, people should know it. if it comes from oklahoma, people should know it. if it comes from the tobacco industry, people should know it. that people have a right to understand who is financing the ads that they're seeing, who is financing the literature they're seeing, that that's part of a transparent and accountable democracy. we had 59 folks on the floor of the senate say yes, we've debated enough, let's close debate and we couldn't get the 60th vote. not because there was more to be said, because no one among those who were voting for additional debate, none of them
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wanted to be here debating. they didn't want to be seen defending secrecy. they didn't want to be seen defending the creation of vast pools of cash that flow freely between super pac's and dumped into campaigns at the last second with nobody knowing where it came from. or vast pools of money that were going under deliberately misleading names. maybe it's a group that wanted to seep some polluting factory open but they calls themed the blue river coalition or the blue skies coalition because the money couldn't be traced. no one wanted to come here and debate that but they voted for more debate. that's the silent, secret filibuster that has wiped out accountability to colleagues and accountability to the american public. and we need to end that. now, right now the minority leader has come down and said
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several times he doesn't like this idea. doesn't like it at all. he's called those of us who promoted transparency and accountability sophomoric. well,ity that was particularly a -- i didn't think that was a particularly polite thing to say but let's say we have a difference of opinion that i'm out here advocating for this chamber to be able to do its responsibility before the american public. i'm out here advocating if you vote for more debate, you have to come to this floor, you have to have the courage of your convictions to make your case before your colleagues and that if you don't, then we go ahead with the simple majority vote. it's that straightforward. now, there are some folks who say you know what? we can already have the talking filibuster under current rules. that we don't need to change the rules. and i found this interesting because the fact is that all of
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the writing about the theory and all the writing about the historical efforts all tell you one thing, and that is that over any length of time, it's impossible for the majority to keep a filibustering minority talking. and why is that? it's because it takes 51 senators of the majority to create a quorum and force one filibustering senator on the floor. so i thought i'd just go through -- that's a myth some of my colleagues have he been perpetrating, i don't think i would go over -- i thought i would go over it a little bit more. there was a recent book by two very well steeped scholars, richard aaronburg was one, richard aaronburg was an aide to senator carl levin as well as to senator tsongas around majority leader george mitchell, so a long career of experience here on the floor of the senate. and the other was robert dove,
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who is robert dove? he was the parliamentarian of this chamber. he spent his time working here from 1966 to 2001. and in the chapter of their book titled "bring in the cots" they explain how this works. between pages 146 and 152. here are a couple of the passages that i thought summed it up. "those who call for forcing the filibusterers to talk either ignore or are unaware of the fact that for a sizable organized minority and certainly for a minority of 41 senators or more, lengthy sessions are little more than exercises in scheduling. the filibusterers are able to take turns holding the floor and since they can demand the presence of a quorum at virtually every moment it is the majority that carries the heavier burden because they need to keep 51 senators nearby.
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if the filibusterers call for a quorum and it is not produced under the rules, the senate must adjourn. they lay out the theory. they go on several pages dolings doing this and quote some other experts. one of those they quote is franklin burden it. he was a -- burdett, he was a scholar who wrote "filibustering the senate" referred to as the classic text on the filibuster. he said this -- quote -- "any experienced modifierer in the senate knows before can pair out the patience and endurance of the majority." well, dove and aaronburg go on to quote elizabeth drew and commentator elizabeth drew says this "many people now ip cyst those who use filibusters should actually be made to stand up and talk through the night, but there is a reason that doesn't
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happen. in the 1970's, majority leader mike mansfield realized that the real punishment was not to the small band of all-night speaker, but to the -- speakers, but to the majority party. sleeping on the famous cots near the senate floor less the person suddenly make a motion to ajurp the senate thus defeating the purpose of keeping them talking. then elizabeth drew quotes historian ritchie. he weighs in. he says "the all-night filibuster wore down the majority much faster than it did the minority and elizabeth concludes majority leaders haven't used the tactic since. but then dove and aaronburg go on to site cite the historical record, go through the filibusters that have been on the floor and one of the examples they cite is majority leader lyndon johnson's 1960 effort to defeat a civil rights filibuster. "senator johnson's effort did not work. civil rights supporter senator william proxmire, democrat from
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wisconsin, described the scene. now we're in a quote of proxmire. proxmire said we slept on cots in the old supreme court chamber and came out to answer quorum call calls. it was and ann absolutely exhausting experience. the southerners who were doing the talking were in great shape because they would talk for two hours and leave the floor for a couple of days. and then aaronburg and dove proceed to take a look at other cases including majority leader robert byrd's 1988 effort to break a filibuster against campaign finance reform. "senator alan simpson frustrated this effort for much of the time simply by repeatedly requesting quorum calls. the bottom line is the bill never passed. the minority that was blocking the bill was able to sustain their filibuster through a report d record eight cloture votes. in the end majority leader byrd had to back down." so in both theory and practice, you can't sustain the process of
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having those who are filibustering actually debate when they voted to debate. so what many of us are proposing is that we change the rule and say that if you vote to debate -- and that takes a minimum of 41 saying yes, we want more debate -- of those 41, at least one has to be on the floor here talking. now, this is only fair to the american people. they turn on c-span and they see quorum calls. they see silence. and they wonder why isn't the senate working on that jobs bill that they had on the floor a few days before. they don't realize it's still on the floor but the silent, secret filibuster is being used to prevent the senate from proceeding and nobody is even willing to talk because they don't want to be seen in public defending their position. well, that needs to end.
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this process in which senators do not have the courage to come down and make their case before the american people has to end. because only if folks make their case on the floor can the public weigh in, can the colleagues weigh in and say, yes, you know, you are a hero; thank you for your filibuster because you're defending some core principle i, too, share. or you're defending some key interest for my state that i, too, care about. or they can weigh in and say, do you know what, you're a bum. you aren't making any points. you haven't described any position. you're simply paralyzing the senate or, worse yet, i disagree with you or you're defending big, vast pools of secret funds used to corrupt the american political system. why would you do that? why don't you, my senator, join the next cloture vote to close debate and get on with solving this problem of vast pools of
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secret funds or some other key issue? so, mr. president, you and i have been here, the presiding senator from minnesota, we've been here just four years, and had i not been here as a young man and seen this chamber as one that deliberates and decides, i wouldn't feel so passionately because i wouldn't understand what we had lost, that we had lost something that started with a constitutional vision, the design of this senate, a courtesy of hearing everyone out before making decisions and that what we had lost in the losing the deliberative decision making body was everything, everything in terms of this body fulfilling its responsibility to address the big problems facing america. when we come in on january 3, we're going to have a debate overrules, and there are some
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that say well, let's just get rid of the debate on the motion to proceed, the filibuster of the motion to proceed. but you know what happens then? you get a doubling down on the paralysis at later stages on which a bill goes through. at a minimum, we must change this dynamic of the secret, silent filibuster and say, if you vote for more debate, you must make your case on this floor. so i encourage, mr. president, citizens around this country who have watched this chamber decline and be broken and fail to address the issues we should address. i encourage them to weigh in with their senators from their home state. and let us know, let all the senators know that it is irresponsible and unacceptable for us to continue the current procedures in which we are so paralyzed and incapable of fulfilling the work that needs to be done. thank you, mr. president.
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i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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